Tara Tiger Brown

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just prowling around

Has anyone seen my iPhone?

Lots and lots of twittering about my iPhone debacle, so I wanted to give you all my side of the story.

I had a party for friends on Thursday nite because my friend Jason Defillippo was in town and is an excellent Rock Band guitar player.  I thought it would be fun to get a few people together to try out Rock Band II and smoke a little hookah.

I created the event on Facebook and invited friends and set the permissions to allowing guests to bring friends.  I tweeted about the party and asked people to direct message me or @ reply me for the address in case I wasn’t following them for some reason.

The party was going well; I knew everyone there or knew of them. There were one or two people that I didn’t know but many people vouched for them.  Then Nick Starr showed up at my house with a guy I didn’t recognize.  Right away my stomach became queasy and I expressed this to my friend Angela. I had recently met Nick at the Mimosa Factory event that he organized.  When he introduced himself, the first words out of his mouth were that he wanted to commit suicide off the Golden Gate bridge.  Me and my companions all looked at each other in complete shock and didn’t have any idea how to respond.  Interestingly enough, a few days later, there were a bunch of tweets that Nick Starr has publicly tweeted that he wanted to kill himself.  I was later to find out that he has done this a bunch of times and its either a cry for some serious help or a publicity stunt.

Back to the story. Nick showed up at my house and I just had a bad feeling.  I didn’t want to turn him away because someone said he was invited by Melodi (who I don’t know) and Melodi was invited by Kara.  I figured, OK, there is some vouching here and everyone at the party at least knew of Nick Starr if they didn’t call him a friend.

Party continues, I try to be a good hostess and introduce myself to Nick and his companion Ben.  We even played Rock Band together.

It gets to be around 11:30pm or midnite and most of the guests have left.  I was on the couch with Sean posting pictures to Flickr and then decided to get up and clean the kitchen.  I put my iPhone down on the table next to the couch and that is the last time I saw it.  BTW, its a Black 3G iPhone with a brown rubber cover with blue flowers. Here’s a pic.

Sean was on the couch and I saw Nick sitting with him. I thought it was odd because almost everyone except maybe one or two people had left.  I looked again and Nick was gone.

That night I looked for my phone because I knew it was low on battery and wanted to plug it in, but I couldn’t find it.  The next morning I looked again and Jason and Sean also looked for it. Couldn’t find it. I looked again and again.  I went to check my email, and received the following from Nick Starr:

Hey thanks for having us over last night. I think I left my iPhone on the coffee table. It is a white one with no case. Is there any way I can meet you somewhere and get it at some point?

Thanks again for the rocking party,

Nick Starr

I thought, hmm, that’s weird.  I replied:

Thanks for coming!

No, I don’t have your cellphone. But I lost mine. Its black with a brown cover. I really wish I could find it because my dog is really sick and I need to call a vet. 😦

-Tara

His reply:

Wait my phone isn’t there? someone took it? wtf….oh man. ugh

Then I started getting really suspicious. What made him think that it was stolen all of a sudden? And some people told me that he is always poor and complains about not having money.

At this point I was pissed off.  We exchanged a few more emails and then this is what sealed the deal for me was this email:

I was invited by Melodi who I’ve known for a while now…I’ve only known that guy for 3 days now…I will ask him.

And this tweet from Nick.  Seemed clear to me that he was trying to put the blame on this Ben guy because no one really knows him.  So in my mind I was thinking about 3 possible scenarious: 1)Ben took it and Nick knew about it. 2) Nick took it 3) Ben took it and Nick didn’t know.  Either way, Nick brought this guy into my house and I as far as I’m concerned, needs to get my phone back or pay to replace it.

A lot of other emails, IMs, tweets, etc. occurred throughout the day.  I spoke to my Dad who is a Private Investigator and he said that the first email that Nick sent me was very suspicious.  I went to the Mission Police Department to report this crime and they said the same thing.

At this point my phone has not been returned.  It cost me $500 and now I have to pay another $500 to replace it.  More than the money which completely sucks, I am so sad that a fun party with my friends has turned into something really sad. I hate that someone came into my house and stole from me after hanging out with me.  I hate that I am so angry right now while I am planning my wedding.  I am trying to get past this.  Really really trying.

Here are my lessons learned:

1) Events on Facebook need to be private if they include your house address.  Can’t trust anyone to keep that information private even if you invite them as a friend.

2) Trust your instincts. If you have a queasy feeling about someone, ask them to leave.

3) During a house party, only allow new people that you don’t know into your house if they have at least one other person there that you trust and will vouch for them

4) Keep all documentation of any crime and take it all to the police with you. There is an online crime reporting site, but going in person means you can provide print outs.

5) Get house or renters insurance that includes a rider for electronics

6) Know who your friends are.

Thanks everyone for your help and support in trying to get to the bottom of this.

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Filed under: annoyed, life, twitter, , , , , ,

40 Responses

  1. angela penny says:

    that so sucks. i agree that even if B stole it and N didn’t know, he’s still responsible for the phone because he brought the guy to your house.

  2. Vincent says:

    Ugh… :/

    Interesting that you got a queasy feeling… Built-in shady people detector!

    Sucks that there are people like that out there.

  3. Raines says:

    Yipes! When I had a laptop stolen last year, I had noted an odd feeling at the time (before I knew it was stolen), re a person on the street in front of the restaurant; although I thought it was grabbed from my bag in the copy shop across the street, actually on the street (where I was bent over my bike fiddling with the lock for a bit, with the bag containing the laptop open and its contents unconcealed) was most probable.

    Lesson: stay in touch with your intuition, check in to figure out why we’re picking up these signals.

  4. I do not covet material items, so imagine my fear that new friends might suspect me of theft. I threw up when I found out and got real angry at Nick before I said anything to you. Like most seasoned manipulators, I don’t believe Nick’s guest was in on the theft. When he first arrived, I overheard him talking to someone trying to convince them to come. The way he described his relationship with you guys over the phone was dismissive and uncaring. All his subsequent actions are textbook evasion techniques: claiming to also be a victim, having a missing scapegoat, etc. It is very clearly Nick’s doing, period. In fact, it’s enough circumstantial evidence for a conviction.

  5. BTW, the phone I saw Nick using at your house did not in any way resemble the iPhone he claims to have lost.

  6. Clintus says:

    I caught bits and pieces of this on Twitter last night… So fucked up regardless of who took it. Take the fun out of having get together’s like that. Hope you get it back or at least get some more info on the asshole that did take it. 😦

  7. Todd says:

    File this under “next time,” but here are a couple options for protecting your iPhone: Track your [stolen] iPhone with Twitter; iRedHanded – beta software that claims to track your iPhone.

  8. Angie says:

    That Nick dude is totally involved. He’s full of shit. Classic move to try and play a victim as well when really one is guilty. I hope you get your phone back.

  9. Cindy Li says:

    I’m really sorry, I thought it as bad when I had my new car broken into for an iPod (two months ago) it didn’t even have tags but to have someone steal from your home with you inviting them over is despicable. I’m really sorry.

  10. BrianG says:

    your house. your friends. your hooka party. you’re stoned. your phone. your reluctance to ask strangers to leave your house.
    your responsibility.

  11. Eddie Codel says:

    This really sucks. I honestly don’t think Nick would have stolen the phone, that’s my gut instinct. My suspicions point to Ben. I do think Nick exercised extremely poor judgment bringing an unknown to a friend’s party. One thing Nick said to me when he intro’d Ben was that Ben had just come from doing community service for two DUI convictions. Don’t know if he meant that as a badge of honor or what, but obviously points to Ben’s previous shady past.

  12. Ada says:

    I think it is extremely suspicious that Nick, so quickly after the fact, now has a Blackberry Curve to backup his ‘stolen’ iphone (as is revealed in his latest tweets.) Isn’t the BB Curve one of their latest models? Sounds like he might have sold or traded yours and/or his iphone(s) to obtain this ‘backup’ blackberry that he ‘just so happens’ to currently have.

    A little detective work discovered this not so hidden blog post, which is quite telling on his nature of crooked schemes: http://www.nickstarr.com/2007/11/28/how-to-get-a-free-iphone-or-blackberry-curve/

    Maybe the next move might be to track down his ebay history? Sorry this happened to you, Tara.

  13. Erica says:

    So disheartening, really. I hope it all gets resolved quickly.

  14. Kelly says:

    This sucks. People who steal suck.
    Have you thought about looking in to seeing if there is a way to find out if this person has an ebay account?

    I know it’s probably a long shot.

    Whatever happens I hope you guys get your things back, and never distrust your instincts again.

  15. David Markland says:

    I’m always skeptical when people are accused of theft: 9/10 times they tend to be innocent. I also hate the belief someone would act different if they were innocent.
    BUT…
    He should have sent you everything he knows about Ben… contact info, last name, etc.
    Also, the idea that anyone would steal TWO phones – Nick’s and Tara’s, seems implausible… but hey, crazier things do happen.
    Also, Nick moves from asking if he left his phone at your place to assuming you have it wanting to make plans to retrieve it… very odd stream of logic.

  16. robert says:

    Damn, just damn. I don’t know you, doubt I ever will but I feel for you. I’ve had “friends” steal from my home as well, and the violation just stings horribly.

    Good luck with getting to the bottom of this, and if you see that Nick guy kick in the nuts once for me.

  17. Tara, I was following the tweets that you and Sean were making about this topic all day from Hawaii yesterday. That really sucks that you’re having to go through this.

  18. Jester says:

    I’ve met Nick a couple of times, and have many mutual friends with him. Nick may be many things, including a complete drama queen, but I have never heard anyone ever accuse him of stealing anything or being dishonest.

    That being said, it’s entirely possible that his friend took your phone.

    On the other hand, it sounds like there were far more people there than you could keep track of, and while it’s totally shitty that your phone was taken, you have to admit that leaving a $500 small piece of popular electronic equipment laying around in plain view was not your smartest moment. It sucks, but ultimately it’s your responsibility and your lesson to learn for the future.

    And publicly accusing people of a felony without any more evidence than a “queasy feeling” in your stomach is grounds for a libel suit.

    Just sayin’

  19. Nicholas says:

    This sucks! I saw this a bit on twitter myself, and this situation is bad all around. I hope whoever is behind this shit gets it, bad

  20. Brad says:

    One thing that is key in knowing if Nick was lying, look at his tweets post party. None of them show being sent via a application made for the iphone. So either he’s good at not getting caught or, he’s actually telling the truth. He had just met that Ben guy (said via tweets) so who knows, he’s the silent one in the bunch.
    (photo of Ben http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickstarr/2948041696/ )

  21. Pat says:

    What a mob mentality. There is really no evidence that points to NickStarr. Every time he says something on Twitter you all question it. It’s like no matter what he does, you question it. But nothing he has done thus far is really that strange. Then you basically spend this entire blog post accusing him of stealing it – And just in case he didn’t steal it, you qualify it by saying that he’s still responsible because he brought a total stranger in your home.

    What about the fact that you had total strangers in your house?

    I love how everyone has become an FBI profiler all of a sudden. Oh and then there’s there is this:

    @nickstarr If you want to make this easier on yourself just meet me somewhere. Otherwise I’m gonna dissapear your ass.

    Frightening.

    Maybe you should start to question the other people who were at the party. It sucks when innocent people are accused of something they didn’t do.

  22. Tara Brown says:

    For those defending Nick, I think its sweet. But give me a break. You don’t have all the facts either and you are accusing me of being in the wrong? Being stolen from in my own home with a private party of friends and I can’t leave a phone out? You have NO idea how many people have contacted me privately about his shady and psychotic behavior. I would be careful about who you defend.

    Did it cross your mind for a second how weird it was that he didn’t make a big deal about losing his phone? Or how about that he didn’t even come over to help me look for it,just all of a sudden assumed it was stolen? Pretty sure he didn’t file a police report. Someone overheard him at my party on his BLACK phone stating he was “at some bitches party” Lack of respect, on a black phone, and not helping to look for his phone at my place all point at one conclusion. Get your heads out of your asses.

    Pat: I didn’t reveal all of the evidence I have for obvious reasons. I didn’t have total strangers in my house. I knew everyone except for Ben, and Nick Starr brought him. Like I said, I met Nick Starr at an event he hosted and my friends know of him. So do a better job of reading my post.

    Jester: There were not more people there than I could keep track of. Did I mention numbers? Nope, don’t think so. Maybe 20 people at one point max. And I knew them all. Plus, my fiancee Sean and my roommate Eva were also there.

    Like I said, I learned my lesson as far as turning away assholes even if people at my party know them.

  23. Melodi says:

    Tara, I am really sorry you’re going through this while trying to plan your wedding. However, I can’t sit here and watch Nick get harassed by people via twitter and email for a crime he hasn’t been found guilty of committing. Thursday night, Nick was under the impression that someone else was throwing the party and he was invited to bring anyone along. Personally, I feel terrible about the outcome of what was supposed to be a fun evening for all. Again, if I were in your shoes, I would be extremely annoyed. However, I don’t think it’s fair to blog about someone who has not been caught red handed. In my opinion, this is a matter that should be dealt with by the police and individuals at the party. I take full responsibility for bringing Nick Starr to your house, as I was under the impression that he was invited. If I failed to mention this in our emails, I was invited to your party by two people. One of them, Nick’s friend from Florida, received information that it was an open house party that a lot of people would be attending. I was talking to his date prior to the party and he seemed like the average twenty-something gay man who liked to have a good time. He did mention his graduation from the Paul Mitchell school and new job at Aveda as a colorist. It wasn’t until I was leaving your party, he mentioned his arrests.

  24. Melodi says:

    Tara…yikes! I just read your previous post. It stinks that someone overheard him say that. You made some good points. I haven’t known Nick for very long or anyone in the web community so I can’t really vouch for anyone’s true character. However, I felt it’s only fair to come to his defense because 1) He’s been nothing but nice to me 2) I never heard him say anything unkind about anyone at any party I’ve been to 3) I really don’t pay attention to gossip that goes on this town…a lot of people talk nonsense 4) This is something that should be dealt with by the police and party attendees. I’m not close with him so I don’t know how he handled the situation nor do I check his tweets or blogs regularly. Whatever I’ve heard about the action he took or refused to take has been via other people…and we all know what happens when we find out things via other people:/ In your defense, you did not deserve this to happen to you and you have every right to be pissed off. If I find out anything else, I promise to get in touch. I found Ben’s work number for you and will do whatever else is necessary to help.

  25. Angela says:

    “Hey” – the question isn’t whether or not he’s ever owned a white iPhone… it’s a.) that he was seen using only a black phone the night of the party…, b.) the coffee table was in frequent use for remote controls, wine glasses and the Playstation controller… no one ever saw a white iPhone on it, and c.) yet he claims that his white iPhone was missing, then stolen, but never went through any effort to retrieve it besides the immediate email. There are any number of actions I personally would have taken if I’d left my phone at someone’s party, and those just didn’t occur to Nick.

    Don’t know him either, but he brought someone he didn’t know (he’d met Ben three days prior) into a party he wasn’t invited to. She accepted them, with grace, into her home regardless.

    Please, people. If you don’t know someone, don’t defend them. And if you’re denied entrance to a small private party at someone’s home next time you crash, don’t be offended. Thank Nick Starr.

  26. David K. says:

    The logic you use to arrive at the conclusion that this is all Nick’s fault is quite misguided. YOU posted an event of Facebook. YOU said you had a queasy feeling about Nick’s friend. YOU did not act on that and ask him politely to leave. To be certain, Nick is a guy who lives his life very publicly. And with all of his issues, that makes him an easy target. But you can’t go around laying blame when you didn’t bother to pre-emptively act on your own suspicions.

    I’ve read your bio, and your LinkedIn profile, and your Twitter stream, all in conjunction with reading this blog post. I’m sorry, Tara, but this whole incident is more like a high-school melodrama than adults trying to resolve an issue. It makes you look small, and certainly leaves me amazed that the person in the bio, who seems so professionally successful, is the same person who would write this poorly thought out rant. And the messages directed at Nick on your behalf (and by you) on Twitter have been nothing short of petty…not to mention bordering on the legal definition of assault.

    Hopefully everyone involved in the incident will learn their respective lessons, and become better people for it.

  27. terry chay says:

    Tara,

    I know we’ve only met twice at parties but FWIW I can vouch for the following:
    – Nick Starr would have had ample time to steal far more than a $500 iPhone from me.
    – Nick Starr owns a WHITE 16GB 3G iPhone which he is never far from. The guy is always twittering, SMSing, or facebook his zillion friends on it
    – Nick Starr doesn’t have a voice plan on the iPhone (or at least I’ve never seen him call anyone and a month ago he told me about some scam he did involving saying he was deaf and getting a data-only plan on it) so I’ve never seen him call anyone

    I’ve had my iPhone stolen in April so I know this must suck for BOTH of you. 😦

    Take care,

    terry

  28. David K. says:

    Thank you for your response, Tara. It proves that my first impression of you was wrong. And you are correct…we’re all human.

  29. terry chay says:

    Oh yeah, about Nick’s white iPhone. The guy whipped it out to show it to me when I was in line on iPhone launch day in Apple Store SF. And then he came by THE NEXT DAY to do the same thing—after I had given up on standing in line the previous day.

    Sure that’s like taunting me, but it does leave me with a very indelible memory that the guy owns a WHITE iPhone.

    Also, there is no way, personality wise, he is going to own a black one—unless he got it on some scam or can no longer afford a 16GB model or something.

  30. Tara Brown says:

    I know that Nick has a white iPhone – I have seen pictures of him with it. That’s not the point. The question mark is around whether or not he had it at the party. I’m positive I saw him walking thru my kitchen to the back door talking on a black phone. My friend at the party also told me he overheard Nick saying on a black phone “I’m at some bitch from Twitter’s house.” Whether it was his own black phone or someone else’s, I don’t know.

  31. Nick Starr says:

    I don’t have time to comment to everyone on here, but I did to some over at my LifeAs site. I just saw the message from Tara about this made up lie about “I’m at some bitch from Twitter’s house.”

    I didn’t even know who you were. I had to DM Eddie, Kara, and Melodi to find out the next day whose house it even was. How would I be saying, “some bitch from twitter?” I didn’t even know the house belonged to a girl, or even who you were.

    Your friends are liars who are spreading all this propaganda and lies about the situation…all of it directed at me and my friend, well former friend until this situation made him never want to talk to me again, b/c I had to ask him if he took the phones, and have talked about this MULTIPLE times now. He won’t even talk to me ever again b/c someone at the party stole the phones and you and your mob/gang all decided to pick on him since you didn’t know him, and then me.

    I don’t know who your “friends who overheard me” are, but you need to re-evaluate who your friends are…they aren’t credible whatsoever. Then again neither are you…you waffled back and forth on who you knew and could trust at your party…not once but 3 different times did you say something different.

    I may not be straight, but I am straighter then your story sweetheart.

  32. Tara Brown says:

    Nick – how can you not know of me?

    You introduced yourself at my party
    You requested to be my friend on Facebook a very long time ago
    You have been following me on Twitter for awhile
    You even follow my dog on Twitter
    We met at the Mimosa Factory event you put on.

    Please stop with the lies, Nick. It is so painfully obvious that you are digging yourself into a deeper hole.

  33. Nick Starr says:

    You are exuding the same Web 2.0 arrogance/self-importance which I was talking about in my post when you say, “Nick – how can you not know of me?” Who the eff do you think you are?

    When we met at the Mimosa thing, I wasn’t myself, I was in a deep state of depression and I’m not sure if you have ever experienced that but you are pretty much dead to the world. I don’t remember anything from about 1/2 way through that party, let alone meeting or talking to you.

    As for the other “connections” we might share. If I see someone on Twitter @reply someone, I will click on the link and if they have a good follower/following ratio or look interesting, I will add them. I don’t know all of the 2,000+ people who follow me and 1,500 who I follow personally.

    Same for Facebook…if there is someone with a ton of “mutual friends” and they were at a party or event I was at, I might add them. That doesn’t mean I “know of them.”

  34. Tara Brown says:

    I don’t mean “know of me” in an egotistical sense, I meant that I assumed from all the ways in which we are connected as listed above that you most likely had heard my name. Apparently we use those tools differently as I know everyone I follow on Twitter and am friends with on Facebook enough to recognize them in person.

    Also, at my party you acknowledged that you met me at the Mimosa Factory. So I am confused why you are retracting that now.

    Lastly, you follow my dog who only has 80 followers so I’m not following your logic on that one.

    I really want to move on from this now. I have spent far too much time dealing with this. I am leaving it in the hands of the police who will get to the bottom of it.

  35. jester says:

    Now that the phones have been returned “anonymously” and you and Nick are in possession of them, I think you owe him a public apology. You have very publicly accused him of a felony without proof. You claim you have more evidence you didnt share, but obviously the police do not feel there is enough evidence to bother investigating your claims.

    Your cronies have spent the last three days trying everything they can do to threaten or demean nick, all in a very public forum.

    Nick could have a strong case against you and your friends for libel, slander, and assault among other things.

    A child can point and accuse… Only an adult can admit they were wrong and apologize.

  36. Sean Bonner says:

    Jester, are you joking? She didn’t find the phones in the sofa, who ever stole them brought them back. The fact that the phones were returned points to nick more than anything else yet. If you stole something and there was public outcry pointing to someone else you’d be getting away scott free and have no reason to do anything but enjoy your thieving success. If however the public outcry was about you or your friend you have motive to return them hoping that will clear your (or your friends) name and make the whole thing go away. Nick apologized to Tara in person when we saw him when we were going to the police station. He kept saying “I’m sorry about this, I don’t have your phone, I’m sorry” couple that with the fact that he’s publicly speculated that his friend may have stolen the phones, and his tweets that he got into fights with his friend after the fact, and that backs up the claims that Nick is/was responsible for bringing someone into someone’s house who stole something. The phones are back in their owners hands which is the most important thing.

    Jester, given everything that’s gone down would you honestly feel safe leaving Nick and or his friends alone around your valuables at this point? I know I wouldn’t.

  37. Jester says:

    Just for a second, put aside your assumption that either Nick or his friend had anything to do with it. I know you have trouble comprehending this, but you MIGHT BE WRONG.

    Now look at how you all have treated this situation. It’s like a bad after-school special. Imagine if Ben had nothing to do with it and Nick felt he had to confront him because YOU guys insisted he did.

    Generally, when someone says “I’m sorry,” especially when they themselves are going through the same situation, thinking people view it as empathy, not consciousness of guilt.

    I’d feel safer being around Nick and his friends than I would whatever group was in that apartment. Someone in that group is a thief. The host of that group is perfectly fine with lobbing public accusations and fostering an environment where it’s perfectly fine to threaten people’s lives.

    Btw, if Tara wants to keep this and other posts that allude to or outright accuse Nick of being a thief despite a complete lack of evidence published to her blog… and if the group wants to continue their assault on twitter and in other public forums, I’ll just keep taking screenshots and file them for use in his libel suit as actual evidence from a third party.

    You know… like ACTUAL facts.

  38. Andrew Mager says:

    That’s a long blog post 🙂

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